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Lewes, Delaware
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May 23, 1997     Cape Gazette
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May 23, 1997
 

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Craig gets maximum in grandmother's murder By Kerry Kester Judge William Swain Lee showed heavy handedness Friday, May 16 when he issued Christo- pher Craig the maximum sentence for killing Craig's grandmother, Shirley Anderson, 63, of Re- hoboth Beach, on Aug. 31, 1995. Should Craig lose the appeal his attorney Stephen Callaway is fil- ing, Craig will spend 38 years im- prisoned. Lee sentenced Craig, 27, to 20 years, suspended after 18, followed by one year at Level IV and one year at Level III pro- bation for the second degree mur- der conviction. Lee gave Craig the maximum sentence of 20 years incarceration for the convic- tion of the possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony charge. During his sentencing remarks, a somber Lee looked directly at Craig and said, "Throughout this trial everybody searched diligent- ly for some other alternative. It was something none of us wanted to believe. We looked for any t other solution... "The state decided there was no other explanation. Nobody was happy with that decision. What we have," Lee went on, "is you were convicted of killing your grandmother in her home while seeking funds to purchase drugs." "I think it was an appropriate sentence considering...the limita- tions that the jury's verdict put up- on the sentencing judge," said James Adkins, deputy attorney general, referring to the jury's find that Craig was guilty of second rather than first degree murder. Adkins said he was pleased that Lee gave Craig the maximum on the weapons conviction. "It's ex- tremely important to the sentenc- ing," he said. "He has to serve every day of that." "The sentence Judge Lee hand- ed down was basically what I had anticipated. Courts tend to go close to the maximum," said Call- away. "An appeal notice has been filed," said Callaway, who said it could be up to six months before the case will be ready to send to the Delaware Supreme Court. That court, he said, will decide whether to hear oral arguments in the case or simply make a deci- sion based on the briefs submitted. "Chris was upset," said Call- away. "It's very tragic circum- stances for the whole family - and all because of cocaine." "I'm happy with the sentence," said Richard Smith, 41, of Port St. Lucie, Fla. Smith attended most of the trial where his nephew Craig faced the murder charges for the death of Smith's mother. His sister Sheryl Craig of St. Au- gustine, Fla. attended sentencing but decline comment. "It's over," said Smith. DelDOT delays Country Club Road improvements Plans to install shoulders on Sussex 273 have been delayed un- til fall because of a written request to Delaware Department of Trans- poration (DelDOT) Secretary Ann Canby. That request came from Rep. John Schroeder (D-Lewes) who has championed the shoulder paving, but who worried that do- ing the work during the summer would cause too many problems. Schroeder said that he has spo- ken with local residents who wor- ried that the work, designed to im- prove conditions for both bicy- clists and pedestrians, would cause too much congestion. The plan was to "fast track" the Legislature Continued from page 8 Another of Schroeder's pet bills, one that would reduce class size in early grades, has been tabled in order for state budget writers to work on cost figures during the next two weeks. Origi- nally, Schroeder targeted grades K through fifth, however, he plans to reduce the target group to K through third grade.' The estimated cost of reducing class size in those grades, by phas- ing in a grade level each year, is work and finish as soon as possi- ble. But Schroeder said residents "would rather go through the sum- mer the way it is knowing relief is coming." "I think we were all hopeful... it would have been done by the start of the season." "We thought it was better to give pedestians and bicyclists half a year than nothing at all," said DelDOT Director of External Af- fairs Christine Gillan previously. Sussex 273, known as Country Club Road, runs roughly from Route 1 to the Three Seasons Campground near the Rehoboth Beach Country Club. $21.1 million by 2002 when the phasing would be complete. The cost of the first year would be ap- proximately $3.36 million. Schroeder's bill has the support of many educators who feel that smaller classes will bring about better overall discipline, and will enhance academic performance. Sen. George Bunting (D- Bethany Beach) is on record as a supporter of reduced class size. Bunting points out that the foun- dation of a child's education is formed in the early grades, and he believes smaller classes greatly increase a child's chance at a suc- cessful educational experience. $7,995 only $3,995 We Buy, Sell & Consign The Sharpest Pre-Owned Cars, Trucks & Sport Utilities In Del. One Owner, LowMileage, MintCondition Preferred 674-2500 BUY WE ALSO ACCEPT CONSIGNMENTS 674-5000 SELL N. Du Pont Hwy., Next To The Hollywood Diner, Dover, DE